If you want to invest in cryptocurrency, the most straightforward option is to use a cryptocurrency exchange to buy cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Cryptocurrency exchanges are popular because the best ones support dozens of cryptos, let you make purchases with funds right from your bank account, and are secure. But there’s still a lot of choice on the market. And picking the right exchange can be difficult if you’re a new investor in the space.
That’s why we’re covering the best cryptocurrency exchanges to help you decide where you should buy and sell your crypto.
Editor’s Pick For The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges:
Best Overall: Coinbase
Best For Earning Interest: Crypto.com
Best For Trading: Binance
Best For Decentralization: Bisq
The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges
When picking the best cryptocurrency exchange for you, there are several factors you should consider.
Firstly, ease-of-use is important since you want buying, selling, and swapping crypto to be simple. Supporting multiple cryptocurrencies and payment types is also a plus.
You also want to avoid fees wherever possible, just like a regular bank account or stock broker. Finally, you should always consider how secure an exchange is to reduce the risk of fraud or theft.
With these rating factors in mind, it’s time to dive into the best cryptocurrency exchanges you can use to start investing.
Coinbase is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges and it’s also incredibly beginner friendly. Once you create a Coinbase account, you can buy over 100 cryptocurrencies and stablecoins with funds right from your bank account.
Coinbase also has its own wallet, so you can store your cryptocurrency on the platform if you don’t want to use another cryptocurrency software wallet or hardware wallet like Ledger.
You can earn up to 5.00% APY on your cryptocurrency through Coinbase Staking; far more than any basic savings account can achieve. Plus, users can get the Coinbase Card that pays Bitcoin rewards of up to 4%.
Transaction fees on Coinbase usually range from $0.99 to a few dollars depending on order size and market liquidity. Overall, if you want a simple and fast way to start buying and selling cryptocurrency, Coinbase is one of the best exchanges you can use.
You also get up to a $200 bonus for opening a new Coinbase account, so it’s the perfect time to try this cryptocurrency exchange.
Read our full Coinbase review here.
With a name like Crypto.com, it’s hardly surprising that this is one of the largest and most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.
On Crypto.com, you can buy and sell over 100 cryptocurrencies using over 20 national currencies. So it’s quite friendly for international users. You can fund your account with fiat from your bank account to trade or purchase cryptocurrency with your debit or credit card.
What makes Crypto.com different from many basic exchanges is how many features it offers. Users can buy and sell NFTs, use margin and derivatives trading, and earn cash back with the Crypto.com rewards card. Furthermore, you can earn up to 14.5% APY on your cryptocurrency holdings.
Crypto.com rounds out its offerings with a comprehensive, free wallet and relatively low fees. New users can also earn up to $50 worth of CRO, Crypto.com’s own coin, for opening an account and staking CRO to earn interest.
Read the full Crypto.com review here.
Uphold is one of the best exchanges if you want to trade multiple asset classes under one account. With Uphold, you can buy over 60 digital currencies as well as precious metals and U.S. stocks.
Uphold also supports fractional shares and has a wide variety of altcoins. So you can invest in stocks with just a little bit of money and dabble in some more niche crypto projects too. You can also easily set up automated trading with AutoPilot.
According to Uphold, it takes just 11 clicks to open your account and begin trading. Spread fees vary depending on the type of cryptocurrency you’re buying or if you invest in precious metals or stocks.
But you don’t pay any fees for deposits or withdrawals. And Uphold also has a free wallet to store your crypto. And your funds can be withdrawn to banks in 36 different countries.
If you invest in other asset classes with your bank or an online broker, Uphold might not be for you. But if you want to streamline your investing and incorporate cryptocurrencies into the mix, Uphold could be the right choice.
Read our full Uphold review here.
Kraken is another popular cryptocurrency exchange that’s also quite internationally-friendly. On Kraken, you can buy, sell, and trade over 50 different cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, and you just need $10 to fund your account.
You can fund your account with USD, several other international currencies, and deposit cryptocurrency to your account. However, while Kraken lets you hold crypto on your exchange account, it doesn’t provide an actual wallet service like Coinbase.
Fees are relatively low on Kraken and are based on various maker and taker rates. There’s also a 0.9% fee for purchasing stablecoins with USD and a few other ways to incur fees. So Kraken's fees take a bit more time to understand than more beginner-friendly exchanges.
Kraken caters to more serious cryptocurrency traders by offering more investing options than most basic cryptocurrency exchanges. For example, you can trade futures and trade on margin.
Read our full Kraken review here.
Gemini is another comprehensive cryptocurrency exchange that’s similar to platforms like Crypto.com and BlockFi.
On Gemini, you can buy and sell over 40 cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, That should be plenty of variety for beginner investors. You can send a wire transfer or ACH transfer to fund your Gemini account and then begin trading.
Gemini also has a rewards credit card and with Gemini Earn, you can generate up to 8.05% on your cryptocurrency and stablecoin holdings to put your crypto to work. Unlike most exchanges, Gemini also offers a wallet that’s insured against theft. And most of Gemini’s funds are actually held offline in cold storage.
Overall, Gemini could be perfect for beginner investors and anyone looking to earn passive income with crypto. There’s also an Active Trader feature that comes with more research tools and order types to cater to high-frequency traders.
Promo: You can earn $25 in BTC when you open a new account and trade $100 within the first three days.
Read our full Gemini review here.
Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, supporting over 500 cryptocurrencies, altcoins, and stablecoins. If you’re looking for a cryptocurrency exchange with a lot of volume and choice, Binance is for you.
Binance also has numerous options to buy cryptocurrency, including credit or debit cards. You don’t pay deposit fees with Binance. But there’s a small withdrawal fee that depends on how much you’re withdrawing at current blockchain congestion.
Overall, Binance is a low-cost way to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency. It’s not as beginner-friendly or intuitive as Coinbase. But you have more selection and can still store your crypto on a Binance wallet.
Read our full Binance review here.
eToro is one of the largest investment firms in the world - with both stock and crypto trading features offered worldwide. In the United States, you can invest in crypto and in stocks on eToro.
eToro supports over 25 different cryptocurrencies, and makes trading crypto, stocks, ETFs, and more very easy.
However, you have to take extra steps if you want to move crypto to a wallet, and if you're concerned about "no keys, no crypto", this might not be the best platform for you.
Plus, you can get a $10 bonus when you open a new account!
Read our full eToro review here.
Many of the best cryptocurrency exchanges are centralized. In other words, a central body controls and manages all of the funds that flow through the platform.
For example, if you store your crypto with Coinbase, you’re technically storing your funds in a custodial account that’s managed by the company. You also have to comply with KYC requirements and verify your identity. Ultimately, this strays farther from one of crypto’s main original goals: decentralization.
In contrast, Bisq is an entirely decentralized way to buy and sell cryptocurrency. It’s all peer-to-peer and open source. So there’s no central company or governing body to manage things. You don’t have to verify your identity either. And all of your data is private.
You download the Bisq app on your computer or smartphone to start. From there, you can add your cryptocurrency and create or take trade offers on the peer-to-peer network. Users also choose between a Bisq wallet or their own wallet address.
Bisq still supports over 50 cryptocurrencies and stablecoins and dozens of payment options. It’s not as beginner-friendly as some of the centralized platforms. But if decentralization is important to you, this is one of the best ways to buy and sell crypto.
Read our full Bisq review here.
How Do You Invest In Cryptocurrency?
Using a cryptocurrency exchange to buy various cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is just scratching the surface of investing in crypto.
The most classic method to invest in cryptocurrency is to buy and hold various cryptos in hopes of appreciation. This is also known as HODLing, a misspelling of the word “holding,” and reflects a simple buy-and-hold strategy.
But, as mentioned, you can also earn passive income from your crypto if you lend it out with companies like Crypto.com.
Additionally, nothing stops you from investing in blockchain-based companies that might benefit from this growing technology. PayPal, Square, and even companies like NVIDIA which creates GPUs that are used in cryptocurrency mining are all examples of companies that may benefit from widespread cryptocurrency adoption.
The bottom line is investors have more choices for crypto investing than ever before. But for most of these choices, the first step is using a leading exchange to actually acquire cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency Exchange FAQs
Here are a few of the questions that people ask most often about cryptocurrency exchanges.
Which cryptocurrency exchange is the best in the United States?
Cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini are some of the best crypto exchanges for U.S. users. This is because both companies are based in the United States, so there’s slightly less regulatory risk versus using an exchange that’s domiciled in a foreign market.
Additionally, both Coinbase and Gemini let you deposit USD from your bank account to begin buying cryptocurrency.
What’s the most secure cryptocurrency exchange?
The leading cryptocurrency exchanges all take security measures to reduce risk. This includes tactics like storing most funds offline in cold storage and letting users set up two-factor authentication (2FA) and requiring account verification.
However, the golden rule in cryptocurrency investing is that you’re responsible for your security. This means taking steps to protect your password and account information and possibly also using your own crypto wallet.
You never want to store all of your funds on a single exchange. At the end of the day, this puts your financial security in the hands of an exchange rather than your own.
How much money do you need to start?
Cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase let you spend as little as $2 on buying various cryptos. You're unlike to deal with minimum account requirements either. So you can typically open an account for free and deposit money when you’re ready to buy.
How do you buy cryptocurrency?
Buying cryptocurrency on an exchange takes five steps:
- Sign up for a leading cryptocurrency exchange.
- Verify your identity and activate your account.
- Deposit funds from your bank account or connect another available payment option, like a debit or credit card.
- Place a trade for a certain amount of a cryptocurrency.
- Choose the cryptocurrency exchange’s wallet or your own wallet address to receive your crypto.
That’s all there is to it!
Trades don’t always complete instantly depending on network congestion. But in many cases, you can buy popular cryptocurrencies almost instantly.
Cult of Money’s goal is to help readers build wealth and find happiness. To help accomplish this goal, we want to empower readers to take advantage of the emerging opportunities in crypto and decentralized finance (DeFi.)
Reviewing the best cryptocurrency exchanges to help beginner investors find the right fit is part of this process. Our reviews are unbiased and based on factors like ease-of-use, available cryptocurrencies, fees, security, and numerous other factors.
This is our ranking of the best cryptocurrency exchanges. But there are plenty of other great options out there for investors to explore. We hope that this list of exchanges provides a reliable starting point for your journey into crypto.
If you’re investing in cryptocurrency, you likely need to use an exchange at some point. However, this shouldn’t intimidate beginners. There are numerous secure, easy-to-use exchanges where you can get started.
Just remember to protect your personal information, like exchange login credentials and your wallet address. And for ultimate risk reduction, consider spreading out your investment funds with multiple top exchanges.
Tom Blake is a personal finance writer with a passion for making money online, cryptocurrency and NFTs, investing, and the gig economy.